The BWS plus project MYiTOPS
The first phase of the BWS plus project MYiTOPS, which is being carried out within the framework of a bilateral cooperation between the Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences and the University of Malaysia Pahang, is coming to an end. The project deals with cyber-physical systems in mechatronics and automotive engineering. During the course of the semester closing event, the German and Malaysian scholarship holders payed a visit to the Baden-Württemberg Stiftung.
Cyber-physical systems refer to systems in which mechanical components, software and modern information technologies are interconnected. Data transfer and data control take place in real time via the internet. These systems, which are becoming increasingly important in the digital age, are the focus of the BWS plus project MYiTOPS, initiated by Prof. Maurice Kettner of the Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences. The goal of the project is the implementation of "International Team-Oriented Project Studies" (iTOPS) in German-Malaysian teams. Students of mechatronics and vehicle technology, who want to train their skills in the fields of construction, electrical engineering, computer science, control engineering, networking as well as intercultural communication, can take part in this project.
Practical tests and "trouble shooting"
After several months of preparation, the BWS plus project started in March 2019 with an opening ceremony at the University of Malaysia Pahang in Kuantan, the capital of the Malaysian state of Pahang. In addition to the twelve German and Malaysian students, official representatives of both universities attended the opening ceremony. During the opening week, the students learned about the basics of cyber-physical systems and methods for their realization, and they were able to complete their first practical trials and instructive "trouble-shooting" exercises. The students also acquired intercultural competences that are important for a successful collaboration in international teams. Thus, the students are optimally prepared to work in an international environment.
Successful teamwork despite 10,000 km distance
After the introductory week in Malaysia, the students split into two teams, each consisting of three Malaysian and three German scholarship holders from the Baden-Württemberg-STIPENDIUM. Both teams then worked on their project task and while one team stayed in Malaysia, the other team travelled to Karlsruhe. The group in Malaysia developed a driving robot for vehicle examinations on a chassis dynamometer, which was controlled via the internet by the other group in Karlsruhe. The group in Karlsruhe constructed a chainsaw, which in turn could be controlled online by the group in Malaysia through a corresponding remote control. In addition to expertise and teamwork, creativity was required to complete the tasks, and different methods led to the goal. One group enabled remote control of the physical component through a VPN client, while the other group cached the necessary remote control data in a database to bridge the distance.
Visiting the Baden-Württemberg Stiftung
At the beginning of August, the first project phase came to an end: During the semester graduation event, all twelve scholarship holders and the project managers met in Karlsruhe and presented their results. Additionally, the students participated in a cultural program, which also provided the participants with a visit to the Baden-Württemberg Stiftung. Kevin Sczekalla (BW Stiftung) and Alicia Paulus (bw-i) welcomed the group and informed the students about the foundation’s areas of work and activities, as well as the opportunities offered by the Baden-Württemberg-STIPENDIUM. The students then presented their results and informed the Baden-Württemberg-STIPENDIUM team about the next steps within the MYiTOPS project, which is set up for three years. A special highlight was the visit to the Erlebnisraum Mobiles BW, which uses various scenarios to inform visitors about the future of mobility in Baden-Württemberg.
Now that the first part of the project has been completed to everyone's satisfaction and all participants have achieved exciting results and positive experiences, the preparations for the second phase of the project are underway. In March 2020, twelve new students from both universities will face the challenges of project work.
With the Baden-Württemberg-STIPENDIUM for University Students – BWS plus, the Baden-Württemberg Stiftung supports innovative joint projects between universities from Baden-Württemberg and their international partners. The programme, which is endowed with approximately 1.2 million euros annually, was announced for the first time in 2011. Since then, more than 70 BWS plus projects have been supported at universities in Baden-Württemberg.
The aim of the program is to establish and build on new relationships with foreign universities and intensify existing contacts for the long term. In a project which is part of BWS plus an option is available to grant a scholarship when an official partnership agreement does not already exist. Funding can be applied for to assist with various endeavours, such as pilot projects for joint measures, including preparatory talks, workshops, intercultural training, language courses and more. The aim of each project should be to continue the links as part of the "normal" Baden-Württemberg-STIPENDIUM for University Students programme after the project period has expired.